Black Death: The Disease That Wiped Out Nations 

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During medieval times, it was very difficult for those in the medical profession to diagnose and treat diseases that arose within their patients. Common diseases that doctors treat quite easily today were known to wipe out civilizations back in medieval times. One of the most infamous of these diseases is called the Black plague, also known as the Black Death or Bubonic Plague. Because of the lack of resources and technology in these times, when the plague first began to spread it was practically a death sentence to those that caught it. The Black Plague was one of the most detrimental and fatal illnesses that arose within the fourteenth century. In fact, it would take Europe two centuries before its population could recover from this illness (Cartwright, Mark). Doctors found that this plague spread very quickly, was extremely difficult to treat, and had unknown causes. This plague was extremely fatal because it spread very quickly, was extremely difficult to treat and, during the time of the outbreak, had unknown causes. It spread very quickly, haad unknown causes and was extremely difficult to treat.

One of the main reasons that this disease was so fatal was because it spread rapidly. A study was done on this disease back in 2010 to discover where the Black Plague originated from. The scientists who conducted this experiment found that the Bubonic Plague originally came from China. The researchers hypothesized that this disease evolved for centuries before it began to spread and cause havoc around the globe. They came to this conclusion using a process known as gene sequencing. Seventeen different plague genome sequences were compared as well as over nine-hundred various DNA sites that belong to a worldwide selection of bacterial strains. This allowed scientists to follow the direct path the Black Plague took to cause multiple outbreaks. The research also allowed scientists to record when these outbreaks took place, which was China. China was the ideal place for the black plague to emerge from because this country was apart of the Silk Road, which means that thousands of people traveled through it each day (Nordqvist, Christian). This made it very easy for the illness to infect people from different continents.

The main carrier of this disease were fleas that resided on rats. Due to this, many ships ended up transporting the disease to different countries because it was not uncommon for rats to be stow-aways on the sea vessels. The rats would contract the disease from the fleas and then pass it along to humans (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). The humans would then pass it along to each other through skin-to-skin contact, it also spread because infected respiratory droplets of infected individuals would become airborne and then inhaled by those who did not have it (Plague). It was very unfortunate that this disease was so easily spread from person to person because it caused millions to catch it and die.

Another reason that this plague caused so many deaths because it was very difficult for those in the medical profession to figure out how to treat those with this illness. Some physicians performed a practice called bloodletting. This is when a person deliberately cuts into one of their veins and bleed. The idea behind this practice was to get rid of ‘hot’ blood, or the blood that was infected with the disease. Victims of the Bubonic Plague were also advised to eat a diet of Mustard, mint sauce, apple sauce, and horseradish. This was thought to balance out the rise or drop in body temperature caused by the illness. Other treatments include rub different items on their boils, these items ranged from onions and herbs to chopped snake and cut up pigeon.

For early diagnosis of the disease, one could visit a physician and have them look at the color of their urine, and if that wasn’t good enough some doctors would even taste the urine to see if it had a hint of plague in it (The Black Plague). Other physicians told their patients to bathe in vinegar and burn aromatic burn to ease their symptoms (History.com Editors). There were many other treatments available to those infected with the black death but none of them had an effect on the patient’s symptoms. Today people who are suspected of having this illness are treated with antibiotics and are then quarantined till their symptoms fade away (Frequently Asked Questions). In modern times, the death toll of this disease is very low, it is unlikely that another outbreak will happen due to the medications available.

Finally, this plague was one of the most deadly because it had unknown causes. Today we know that this infamous plague is caused by a bacteria called yersinia pestis. This bacteria is zoonic which means it’s usually found within the fleas on small mammals and can infect other species easily such as the rats themselves or humans (Plague). However back in the 1300s people had no idea that this deadly illness was caused by such a small organism, in fact, they didn’t even know that bacteria existed. So, when people began to get back nodes on various parts of their body, pain in their abdomen along with constant bleeding, they had no idea what to think. Many believed that this illness was a form of God’s punishment. Because of this theory, another form of treatment arose, this was gaining back God’s favor. A few infected individuals would whip themselves in the streets of Europe to show God how sorry they felt about committing sins.

Another theory of why this disease started was to cleanse certain parts of Europe of wrongdoers and heretics. At one point people started massacring Jews because they believed that they were going to cause the disease to enter their city. This caused chaos in many cities which in turn caused many people to move to parts of Europe with a small population. With all these ideas and havoc happening in Europe during this plague many went mad. They began to question the condition of their souls and were constantly doing various things that they believed would please God and prevent them from getting infected. Others believed that the disease was to cleanse cities so they would turn on their neighbors to avert the disease from their town (History.com Editors). People coped with the unknown cause of the disease by coming up with their own theories. Unfortunately, this caused more harm than good, in some cases.

This disease caused so much devastation because it spread at an extremely alarming rate, was very difficult to treat and had an unknown cause. More than half of Europe’s population fell victim to this disease and the other half was relentlessly trying to stay away from this disease. The black plague is one of the most havoc reaping illnesses that have affected the human race. Luckily technology has advanced to where this disease is very easy to treat and diagnose.

Cite this paper

Black Death: The Disease That Wiped Out Nations . (2021, Oct 07). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/black-death-the-disease-that-wiped-out-nations/



What was the cause of the Black Death?
The Black Death was caused by the bubonic plague. The plague was spread by fleas that lived on rats.
What was the disease that was spread during the Black Death?
The disease that was spread during the Black Death was the bubonic plague.
What were the three diseases of the Black Death?
The three diseases of the Black Death were bubonic plague, septicemic plague, and pneumonic plague.
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